August’s Job Report and July’s Job Opening Survey were very interesting this month! Big business closures, such as Yellow’s sudden shut down, and Hollywood’s actor and writer strike have made everyone stop and look more closely at the reports and what they mean for employment numbers. With downward revisions to May’s, June’s, and July’s job counts, there is more talk about the federal reserve’s ability to achieve the “soft landing” they have desired from the imbalances in the labor market in the past three years. July’s job report saw the number of open jobs decrease to 8.8 million. The number of new Nonfarm payrolls increased by 187,000 for the month of August. Unemployment made another slight increase to 6.4 million, with the unemployment rate coming up slightly to 3.8% from the month of July. Transportation and Warehouse job openings decreased by 34,000, with truck transportation losing 37,000 of their own employees.
July's Job Opening and Turnover Survey
At the end of July, job openings decreased to 8.8 million, and hires stayed about the same at 5.8 million from the previous month. The quit rate also decreased minimally to 3.5 million, and layoffs and discharges increased ever so slightly to 1.6 million.
Several sectors saw decreases in job openings once the final numbers from July were in. The Healthcare and Social Assistance industries saw losses of 130,000, and the professional and business services industry lost nearly 200k jobs (-198,000). However, job openings increased in the Transportation and Warehousing sectors by 75,000. The Information sector also had increased job openings by 101,000. The monthly revision of numbers is allowing for a clearer view of how the Federal Reserve’s measures to fight inflation are being received.
August's Jobs Report
Non-farm payrolls grew by 187,000 in August, although it will be interesting to see how these numbers are revised for September’s report. Unemployment increased slightly to 3.8%, while the labor force participation rate also increased minimally to 62.8%.
Transportation and Warehousing jobs showed downward trending numbers for August, including 34,000 jobs lost. The report also specifically states that an additional 37,000 jobs were lost in the truck transportation sector; however, the labor report states that this loss is primarily due to business closure. (With Yellow shuttering their business on July 31, most of those losses have been attributed to that.) Leisure and Hospitality added 40,000 jobs in August, and the report states that they are staffed at only 1.7% below pre-pandemic levels. Construction (+22,000) and Healthcare (+71,000) also saw gains in August.
The August Jobs Report and the July Job Opening and Turnover Survey reveal that the labor market is still cooling down, something the Federal Reserve has been maneuvering towards for several years now. For the first time in quite a while, experts think the Reserve is not contemplating another rate hike at their next meeting. Many believe the “soft landing” desired by the Federal Reserve is possible, but others, like Gus Faucher, believe a recession is still looming on the horizon, possibly coming as soon as early 2024.
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Meaghan Goldberg covers recruitment and digital marketing for Lionzone. A Patterson, GA native, after graduating from both Valdosta State University and Middle Tennessee State University, Meaghan joined Lionzone in 2018 as a digital recruitment strategist before becoming the social media manager.